Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Whimsical Eggnog Christmas Cake

by Darla

Once again, I present a recipe that is actually rooted in a food dislike of mine: eggnog. I have never liked eggnog. Unfortunately, the hubster loves it. It’s unfortunate because I have a bad habit of not buying what I don’t like…so he misses out. Our boy loves it too. He says it’s his favorite drink ever, more than cream soda (which he loves an awful lot)! I, on the other hand, won’t go near the stuff.

I don’t think it’s disgusting, I just don’t particularly enjoy it. In cake, though? That’s a completely different story.

This cake turned out to have one of the best textures of any cake I’ve made before. It was moist and soft, but still had a firm bite. And the frosting ended up being the perfect compliment! I used the same frosting from this recipe, but adapted it to have a bit of an eggnog flavor. Needless to say, this cake was a huge hit in my house…even with me.

To make this cake, all you need is cake flour, unsalted butter (at room temperature), sugar, eggnog (at room temperature), salt, nutmeg, baking powder, eggs (at room temperature), and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, eggnog, and vanilla; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. With the mixer on medium low, add the butter one piece at a time until the mixture looks sandy, and just start to come together. Add half of the eggnog mixture and mix on low until it just comes together. Increase the speed to medium high speed and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce mixer speed to medium, and add the remaining egg mixture in a slow, steady stream. Continue mixing until thoroughly combined, scraping the bowl, as needed.

Divide the batter into the cake pans sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, and lined with parchment paper on the bottom. I chose to make six-inch rounds for a very, very tall cake. The batter divides perfectly into six layers in a six-inch pan. You could also bake this cake in two nine-inch rounds. If making nine-inch rounds, place both pans on the same rack and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. If making six six-inch rounds, place three pans in the oven (on the same rack) and bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Repeat with the remaining three pans. Run a paring knife around the outside edge of the cakes, turn them out onto a wire cooling rack, and peel away the parchment paper. Allow to cool completely before assembling and frosting.

You can make this cake into several layers if you like, or just leave them whole. I chose to cut each layer in half, making my six layer cake into 12. Just place two to four tablespoons of frosting on each layer before stacking the next one on.

Once the cakes are stacked, put a thin layer of frosting on your cake as a base coat before frosting it again with a thicker layer of frosting. Once I had my cake frosted and smoothed, I chose to put clear sanding sugar all around the outside of it before decorating the cake.

For the “tablecloth” on top of the cake, I rolled out some red fondant to slightly less than a quarter of an inch thick. Next, I placed a nine-inch round cake pan on it, and cut around the pan to make a nine-inch round piece of fondant.

Center the fondant circle on top of the cake, then cut even triangles out around the edge before pressing the remaining fondant points down. The fondant won’t stick to the sugared sides of the cake, so it’ll be easy to cut the triangles.

Next, I shaped ornaments by making top pieces out of a small piece (about 1 gram) of fondant that I shaped into small, fat disks. Cut the disks in half and paint with silver luster dust. Next, roll another small piece (about 5 grams) of fondant, in the color of your choice, into a ball. Cut the ball in half and paint with gold or pearl luster dust. Once all of the painted pieces have dried, use I small amount of frosting on the back to stick them to the cake at the base of the points.

Next, I added some sweet and simple rosettes to the cake. I’ve never made anything like these before, but I wanted some ribbon-like Christmas flowers, so I improvised, and this is the result. I’m very pleased with them, and they’re incredibly easy to make.

All you have to do is pinch off a small amount of fondant. Roll the fondant into thin rope. Flatten the rope with a rolling pin, rolling it width-wise, as well as length-wise. Next, just pleat the bottom repeatedly until the fondant has wrapped around to form a circle.

Use a small dab of water to “glue” the ends of the fondant together, then repeat the process with a slightly smaller piece of fondant in a contrasting color. Glue the “petals” to each other with a small amount of water, then finish the rosettes off with a tiny button of fondant placed in the center.

I chose to brighten my flowers up with a light layer of pearl luster dust before using a little frosting on the back of them to stick them to the cake. I love the results, and the effect of the sweet flowers. The cake looks sort of homespun and old fashioned, which is one of my favorite Christmas looks!

Yet the inside is bright and funky! Who wouldn’t get a punch of Christmas spirit if this arrived on their plate?! When i served this cake, I chose to divide the slices in half, serving up the bottom six layers on one plate, and the top six layers on another.

I highly recommend this delicious cake as an alternative to the usual chocolate that you see at Christmastime! It’s rich and delicious, with a pleasant bit of spice to it. Plus, the decorations are cute, easy, and festive, so don’t be afraid to give them a chance! You’ll be sure to impress everyone at the table when you present this exciting cake! Enjoy!

Eggnog Cake
Makes 2 9-inch rounds, or 6 6-inch rounds
Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup eggnog, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 16 pieces

FOR THE FROSTING
5 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, eggnog, and vanilla; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. With the mixer on medium low, add the butter one piece at a time until the mixture looks sandy, and just start to come together. Add half of the eggnog mixture and mix on low until it just comes together. Increase the speed to medium high speed and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce mixer speed to medium, and add the remaining egg mixture in a slow, steady stream. Continue mixing until thoroughly combined, scraping the bowl, as needed.

Divide the batter (18 ounces in each 9-inch round, or 6 ounces in each 6-inch round) into the prepared pans. If baking 2 9-inch rounds, place both pans on the same rack and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. If making 6 6-inch rounds, place 3 pans in the oven (on the same rack) and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Repeat with the remaining 3 pans. Run a paring knife around the outside edge of the cakes, turn them out onto a wire cooling rack, and peel away the parchment paper. Allow to cool completely before assembling and frosting.

To make the frosting: In a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water, combine the egg whites, sugar, nutmeg, and salt. Heat the mixture, whisking often, until it reaches 160 degrees and the sugar is dissolved.

Pour into a large bowl (if using a hand mixer), or the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attached. Whisk on medium high speed until stiff peaks form, about 8-10 minutes. The mixture should also be room temperature, at this point.

With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until incorporated before adding another piece. Continue to beat until thick and smooth (if it looks curdled or soupy, just keep beating it until smooth again, another 3 minutes or so). Stir in the vanilla and eggnog until incorporated and tint with food coloring, as desired.

Recipe by Darla

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{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

1 CantStopBaking December 15, 2010 at 10:45 am

Wow, this is like Christman encapsulated in a cake. Gorgeous, and it looks yummy too!

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2 Brandy December 15, 2010 at 10:53 am

WOW!!! This cake is sooooo beautiful! You've outdone yourself yet again :)

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3 Mary Anne December 15, 2010 at 11:23 am

This is so pretty! The Girl and I love eggnog, she gets so excited when we finally see it in the stores in the fall!

What type of coloring do you use for the cake layers, gel? I might have to make this for Christmas Eve. I don't know if that will be my maiden fondant voyage, though…

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4 april a December 15, 2010 at 1:00 pm

That looks AWESOME! Its just a amazing looking cake, I think I have to try that, my son loves eggnog..

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5 Kate December 15, 2010 at 1:59 pm

This is like a Christmas explosion and I absolutely love it! I can't say I will be tackling it in its full glory but perhaps a half recipe would could work out! Who can deny eggnog cake in any size?!

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6 Lora December 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Incredible tower of Christmas power. Love it.

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7 linda December 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm

THIS IS THE MOST AMAZNG CAKE…WOW!
glorious, stately & so very creative…you ROCK!
yes ROCK!

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8 cutekittypunk December 15, 2010 at 4:45 pm

wow… i love how you turned a "no likey" into something so loverly… it's super cute with those colors and it's just so darn cat in the hat looking – love it.

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9 Darla December 15, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Thanks everyone! I had so much fun making it!

@Mary Anne – Yes, I use gel colors. You'll need lots and lots of red to get a really good Christmas red for the cake (I even used Christmas Red & it took a whole lot). The fondant is really pretty easy…you can used store bought to make it even simpler. :)

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10 Tiffany @ Conor & Bella December 15, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Wow, beautiful cake! And I like some eggnog, so I would love this!

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11 Medifast Coupons December 15, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Wow!
I even have a matching Dr. Seuss plate that is going to show off this absolutely awesome looking cake. Thanks for all your hard work.

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12 Nam @ The Culinary Chronicles December 15, 2010 at 7:47 pm

S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G!!!! :)

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13 Jo December 15, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Totally, totally love this. Absolutely gorgeous.

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14 Anonymous December 15, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I'm thinking of making this for Christmas eve, but instead of the flowers, I'm thinking a Christmas tree. Any ideas for how to do that?

~Sarah

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15 Terra December 15, 2010 at 9:36 pm

WOW!!! This is gorgeous:) You did such an amazing job!
Take care,
Terra
http://www.cafeterrablog.com

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16 sugarswings December 15, 2010 at 10:27 pm

so pretty! i love the look and the colors….awesome lady!

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17 karynees December 15, 2010 at 11:01 pm

It's absolutely beautiful!! Nice work! I love the little ornaments. What do you use to paint them with?? I may have to give this one a try.

Thanks for posting something as stunning as that Halloween cake you did. Can't wait to see what you'll think of next!

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18 Jennie December 15, 2010 at 11:41 pm

SO SO SO AMAZING!!!!! Wow!!!!

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19 Stephanie December 16, 2010 at 12:00 am

Beautiful!! I love the white sanding sugar on it

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20 Emily December 16, 2010 at 1:38 am

Wow, this is the most christmasy cake of them all. Can't wait to try it! I love egg nog and have never even thought to try it in a cake before

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21 chemo December 16, 2010 at 2:56 am

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22 MM Cake Design December 16, 2010 at 4:19 am

This cake is sooo beautiful! I like coloring!

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23 bakingdom December 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm

For the gold ornaments, I used CK Products gold luster dust, and for the red and green ones, I used Wilton pearl luster dust. Just mix a tiny bit of the dust with a small amount of clear extract (I use clear vanilla), or vodka to make a thin paint. The reason you use an extract or alcohol is because the alcohol in it will evaporate away, leaving behind a dry, but sparkly, finish. I just use a small paint brush to brush it on. And a little goes a very long way!

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24 Janessweets December 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Wow, this is just fabulous! I can only imagine the reactions when the cake is sliced. Beautiful, festive, and incredibly impressive cake!

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25 Scarletta @ Scarletta Bakes December 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm

O. M. G.

A new obsession is born with this cake – so amazing!

I think I will start with just the cake, since I, too, adore eggnogg and I don't have the mad cake decorating skillz that you do. Either way – thanks so much for the festive inspiration!!

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26 CurlyCupcake December 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Wow, people must stare in awe when you come out with this cake! I LOVE that you put sanding sugar all around the cake…it makes it look so wintery and icy!

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27 Jenn December 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm

OMG… I ran across your blog when I was writing a post on Harry Potter and I think it's the best "foody" blog I've ever found!!!! I'm lovin' it and can't wait to try some of your recipes. So glad I found you! :)

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28 Cher Hale December 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm

I've just given your cake the 'MOST WONDERFUL CAKE OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON' award. Seriously though, it's so beautiful!

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29 Ladybugtag December 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Awesome Cake- you are really talented! I saw this: http://www.perpetualkid.com/cupcake-hat-beanie-neff.aspx and thought I would pass it on to you since you are always saying how much you love cupcakes.
~Ladybugtag

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30 Jaime December 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Looks amazing! The inside is so festive! :)

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31 www.peanutsmom.blogspot.com December 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm

GORGEOUS!!!!!

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32 Darla December 21, 2010 at 11:48 pm

@Sarah – You could make really cute ice cream cone trees covered in frosting. I leaf tip pipes lovely trees, or you can use a grass tip for a "fuzzier" looking tree. And they don't have to be green…they'd look great in white, or even red!

You could also shape simple fondant cones into trees and drape little fondant ornaments and garlands around them.

I almost topped this cake with a tree myself. I was going to make a sort of tiered tree by making each section out of another piece of fondant and stacking them, making them smaller as they got higher. You could shape them like stars and set them askew on each other to create your tree's "branches."

I hope this is helpful! :)

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33 Cheryl January 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm

What a fun-tastic cake! Hope you don’t mind, but I am renaming it the Grinch Cake at our house, and it will be making an appearance next Christmas! thanks for sharing!

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34 Chocolate Shavings December 23, 2010 at 10:52 am

Now, that's a Christmas cake! It looks absolutely gorgeous!

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35 Proud Italian Cook December 23, 2010 at 11:56 am

What a stunner! You are very talented!

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36 Mary December 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm

WOW! That is one incredible cake! Great blog; happy I found you!

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37 Erika Beth, the Messy Chef December 23, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Bravo on the cake! Both the inside and the outside are lovely. And I adore your cake stand. Where did you get it?

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38 Lauren @ Crave. Indulge. Satisfy. December 23, 2010 at 7:12 pm

WOW, what a beautifully festive holiday cake. Love the red & green layers!

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39 Cakebrain December 24, 2010 at 3:17 am

a cake like that makes me smile! Merry Christmas and thanks for sharing!

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40 Catherine Holman December 28, 2010 at 10:54 am

This is the most beautiful cake I've ever seen! I would love to paint this sometime.

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41 Tina January 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm

This is probably one of the most beautiful cakes I have seen. I just stumbled upon it on foodgawker and was amazed. You are extremely talented!! What a gorgeous cake!!

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42 jessie October 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm

okay- did i miss how you make the cakes red and green?

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43 Darla October 26, 2011 at 11:46 am

Hi Jessie, I simply used gel color food coloring (such as Americolor). Once the batter is mixed up, gently stir int he desired amount of food coloring. I hope this is helpful.

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44 Rhondi November 11, 2011 at 10:27 am

What a beautiful cake! You are very talented and I look forward to browsing through the rest of your creations. Found you on Six Sisters’ Stuff blog.

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45 April November 12, 2011 at 3:02 am

I want to make this for my family Christmas, but there weren’t any measurements. How much of each do I need to use? I just found your blog through Pinterest.

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46 Darla November 16, 2011 at 11:43 am

Hi April, You’ll find all of the measurements, as well as instructions, at the end of the post.

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47 Evie November 17, 2011 at 11:58 am

I am SO impressed with your work. This cake is adorable adorable adorable!!!

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48 Amanda November 24, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I am amazed at how pretty this cake is. I love the bright colors inside!

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49 Penny November 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Hi, I agree what a wonderful cake, but I am a newbie & wondered how you got the sugar on the outside of the cake? Lol!

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50 Darla December 2, 2011 at 10:13 am

Hi Penny, To get the sugar on the outside of the cake, I filled a bowl with white sanding sugar. I held the cake over a large plate (or cookie sheet…anything that has sides or a lip and that’s large enough to catch the sugar), I tilted the cake ever-so-slightly to the side (not too much, or the cake could slide, lean, or fall over). You barely need to tilt it, just enough to get even the slightest angle.Next, I simply scooped a handful of the sugar up and sprinkled it onto the side of the cake, allowing the large plate underneath to catch the excess sugar so I could use it again.

It takes a little bit of practice to do this, and I recommend starting with a shorter or smaller cake, but the end result is very lovely. You can also use other ingredients, like sprinkles, cookie crumbs, and chopped nuts.

Be sure to do this right after frosting the cake, while the frosting is still wet, so that the sugar will stick. If you wait too long, the surface of the sugar will dry, and nothing will stick to it.

I hope this is helpful! :)

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51 Andrea December 3, 2011 at 8:19 pm

I found you on Pinterest and my husband had been asking me re: eggnog recipes, so I think I might have to try this cake out. Not nearly as beautiful as this one or as breathtakingly yum, no doubt, but I want to try it anyway! :D

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52 Deb (Two Cheeky Monkeys) December 8, 2011 at 5:14 am

This is so awesome I just had to link to it on my blog! :)

http://twocheekymonkeysdesigns.blogspot.com/2011/12/festive-food-roundup.html

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53 Dawn Robins December 12, 2011 at 6:55 pm

This cake was inspiring! I used some of your ideas for a cake I made this weekend… thanks!!!
Come on over and check it out!

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54 Victoria December 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Oh my goodness!! Not only does this sound delicious, it looks GORGEOUS!! I featured this on my blog today: http://vixenmade.blogspot.com/2011/12/festive-eggnog-recipe-roundup.html

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55 Candice December 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I had a question…for the icing, do you use granulated or confectioner’s sugar?

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56 Darla December 19, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Hi Candice, the recipe calls for regular granulated sugar.

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57 Jess December 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Wow, super adorable! I love how the frosting inside is a lighter green than the green layers : )

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58 Ryan S December 21, 2011 at 3:27 am

How did you get the colors? I think I read that you used gel goof coloring… I am assuming you just added alot to the batter? What about the frosting… In your pic while making the cake it is white but the finished product shows green? Did it turn green from the batter or did you add food coloring to it too?
Btw… The cake is awesome

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59 Darla December 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm

HI Ryan, I gently folded in the gel colors until I got the desired color. I recommend using Americolor, as they add a great deal of color with just a little addition. As for the green frosting, I simply divided a small amount from the white frosting and added a little green to it before filling the cake.

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60 PEARL December 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Love it! And Im actually trying to make it right now! However, i am having soo much trouble with the frosting! It’s very soup like and it is curdeled… I have been beating for like 15 min!! Help??!!?

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61 Darla December 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Hi Pearl, it sounds like you may have over-mixed the frosting, or possibly that our butter was a little too warm when you began. It’s hard to say for sure without being there. I’m so sorry that your frosting isn’t working out for you! :( I can recommend that the butter should be softened but still slightly cool. It shouldn’t be so soft that your fingers sink into it greatly when you handle it. You can try sticking the bowl in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes, then whipping it again to see if it brings everything together. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful.

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62 Becky Green December 22, 2011 at 10:33 am

OH WOW!!!!!!!! This cake looks like it would be SO MUCH FUN to eat!!!!!!!!!!!! What a FESTIVE cake & I’M SURE FUN to make !!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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63 sweetsugarbelle December 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm

This is a show stopper. SHOW STOPPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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64 Bettie December 22, 2011 at 6:42 pm

OH! MY! I wouldn’t want to even eat it, so beautiful.

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65 terry December 22, 2011 at 7:19 pm

<3 it!!
wish i could pin it!!

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66 Shane December 22, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I do not bake or cook or do anything that requires more than a microwave or food in a can, but that cake and the art involved in creating it makes me wish I knew how to bake.

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67 shelly (cookies and cups) December 23, 2011 at 10:04 am

That’s a TALL cake! It’s so pretty and I am sure I could eat a slice or 20. I’m not an egg nog fan either. I think it’s the word “nog”…it’s not a good word.

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68 Jill @ KitchenFunWithMy3Sons.com December 23, 2011 at 4:19 pm

This is beautiful! Just featured it on our Fun Finds!

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69 Dana December 27, 2011 at 10:27 am

I made this cake for Christmas and it was wonderful! I have been inspired to start making more cakes with surprise brightly-colored layers on the inside.

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70 emma October 12, 2012 at 11:27 am

were and how much sanding sugar do u get

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71 polly November 26, 2012 at 8:35 am

my daughter wants me to make this cake for her 15th bday, but without the eggnog in the cake or icing. what can i use in it’s place? Thanks!

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72 Darla March 9, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Happy birthday! You can use heavy cream as a substitute :)

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73 Justin December 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm

OMG, that cake is adorable! You did a great job with the decorating..love it.

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74 Lorena December 21, 2012 at 9:25 pm

This is gorgeous. I made cupcakes with it and it turned out well. Having a little trouble with the icing, though – with a full 2 c of butter it is essentially sweetened whipped butter. Is that really the amount?

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